WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the story “The Happiest Man in Gotham” from Gotham City Villains Anniversary Giant #1, now on sale
The Batman rogues gallery is one of the most distinctive in western fiction, with some of the most iconic villains of all time hailing from that batch of characters. Many of them want to change the world or enrich themselves with immense power. But a largely forgettable one has actually found the perfect place in the city — and even how to use Batman to his own advantage.
The story “The Happiest Man in Gotham” from Gotham City Villains Anniversary Giant #1 by Mairghread Scott, Ariela Kristantina, Trish Mulvihill, and Ariana Maher sets up Killer Moth as one of Gotham’s most surprisingly clever bad guys, as he found success by following in Batman’s wake — and out of his sight.
Killer Moth was among the first generation of Batman villains, debuting in Batman #63 by Bill Finger, Dick Sprang, and Lew Schwartz. Killer Moth was initially designed as a deliberate counterpoint to Batman: posing as millionaire philanthropist Cameron van Cleer. Killer Moth attempted to assist criminals across the city contend with the Dark Knight. Over the years, Killer Moth has been revisited and reimagined, with multiple characters operating under the identity. In the current core-DC continuity, Killer Moth is a low-level Batman villain who had a surprisingly bright idea recently. After meeting Harley Quinn one night and being inspired by something she said, Killer Moth realized he could actually use Batman’s war on crime to his advantage.
Instead of staging his own crimes and attracting the attention of Gotham’s various masked heroes, Killer Moth instead embraced the idea of himself as a parasite. Killer Moth merely watches others as they embark on their own crimes, and then picks up the pieces after the fact. Whenever Batman confronts robbers on the streets of Gotham, it’s Killer Moth who follows after them and collects the discarded cash. When a museum is robbed and Batman breaks up the criminals themselves, Killer Moth sneaks in right afterward and takes whatever he can find. In doing so, Killer Moth has been forced to accept the fact that he’ll never be “one of the greats,” the named villains who inspire fear across the world and earn the genuine ire of the heroes — but he’s stealing away an impressive amount of cash in the process.
Killer Moth is ultimately alright with his position in the city and has carved out a surprisingly comfortable life for himself in Batman’s wake. All things considered, Killer Moth has found a perfect criminal scheme for himself in a crime-riddled city like Gotham. Because he’s not actively hurting people or trying to break the law so much as take advantage of the chaos left behind when others do so, Killer Moth likely hasn’t gotten himself on Batman’s radar. Instead, the Dark Knight and his allies have to be more focused on the active criminals who could endanger others in their acts — giving Killer Moth the perfect opening to continue his unshowy but clearly effective scheme.
He even refers to Batman as his “meal ticket,”. This makes him perhaps one of the only villains to really use their knowledge of Batman and his tactics to enrich themselves instead of just struggling to stay ahead of his grasp. By remaining in the C-list status he’s always embraced, Killer Moth remains a minor threat to the general public — and therefore not in Batman’s list of top priorities. It’s one of the best plans a Batman villain has had in some time, even giving him security and calm that major threats like Riddler or Penguin will never receive. By accepting his place in the Gotham ecosystem, Killer Moth might have become one of the most successful Batman rogues.
from Ultimate Comic Blog